India is the fastest growing auto market in the world. This has prompted many global automakers to make cars specific to the demands of the Indian buyer. This week two world premieres took place in India, both cars targeted at the Indian buyer. First was the French car maker Renault that achieved the almost impossible task of making a 7-seater and keeping it less than 4 metres in length. And then the big one was Korean giant Kia motors which made its debut in India with the feature rich SUV, the Seltos.

Kia Seltos

The world’s 8th largest automaker Kia finally revealed its much awaited SUV for India to the world this week. The indigenously manufactured Seltos according to the company boasts of many world, India and segment firsts. A big talking point is the design where the dominating front fascia has a wide signature tiger nose grille; muscular shoulder line and “Heartbeat Shape” LED DRLs that present a pretty unique picture. The headlamps, the fog lamps and the tail lamps all get LEDs along with 3D Multilayer Side turn indicators. The rear bumper gets metallic muffler effect and that along with the use of chrome and faux dual exhausts lends the compact SUV sportiness. There are many SUV traits on the profile as well like the 17-inch alloy wheels, square wheel arches, high ground clearance and roof rails. Inside the Seltos gets good quality materials and whole lot of technology. Named UVO connect, it gets 37 smart features under five distinct categories i.e. navigation, safety and security, vehicle management, remote control and convenience. Some of the highlights here are stolen vehicle tracking, remote engine start & stop and geo fencing.

In terms of performance, the Seltos comes equipped with Smartstream—newly developed third generation BS VI compliant engine for high efficiency and powerful performance. The vehicle will come in petrol, turbo-petrol and diesel guise and will be offered in three automatic transmission options—IVT, 7DCT, 6AT along with 6 Speed Manual transmission. You can also choose between Normal, Eco and Sport modes along with multiple grip controls where drivers can choose from mud, wet and sand mode depending on road conditions. Prominent safety features on the SUV include 6 airbags, vehicle stability management, hill-start assist and a 360 degree camera. Finally when it comes to network Kia motors is 265 touch points across 160 cities the most by any auto brand making debut in India. The Seltos will be launched in the market in the month of August and is likely to be priced between Rs 11-17 lakh.

Renault Triber

Renault is calling the Triber a unique vehicle for India. With tax benefits that cars less than 4 metres in length attract, it is always tempting for automakers to attempt one and what better than having 3 rows of seats in the car.  But first let’s talk about how the Triber is from outside. Just like the Kwid which has many SUV traits despite being a small car even the Triber gets sculpted bonnet, front and rear SUV skid plates, roof bars, black plastic wheel arch protections and lower protective door panels. Add to that a ground clearance of 182 mm and the Triber does look every bit a cross. The chrome laden grille and the split tail lamps add a bit of glamour to the car. The car also gets LED daytime running lights and projector headlamps which contribute to the premiumness. But the real magic is inside the car. The cabin gets two-tone colours, from deep black for the upper part of the dashboard to a beige and white tone for the lower part and door trims. The car also gets a start/stop button, a digital instrument cluster along with an 8-inch touch screen infotainment system. The system is compatible with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Space is where the Triber gets really impressive. There are 2 glove compartments (one of which is refrigerated) and with upto 31 litres of total storage space, Triber is more than double of what is usually available on similar-size hatchbacks. There’s good space on both the front rows and attempts have been made to make the third row practical too; like fact that 2nd row seats both slide and recline and the raised roof provides more headroom. If the third row of seats is not used the Triber provides a boot space of 625 litres. In all the car offers a total of more than 100 different seat configurations. Another good feature is that all the rows get 12V charging sockets and air-conditioning for all passengers.

This Renault is fitted with a 1.0-litre 3-cylinder petrol engine generating 72Ps with 96Nm torque. It can be paired with five-speed manual transmission or five speed AMT. It gets dual VVT system where torque is available from low revs which helps in faster acceleration. The car is fitted with 4 airbags: driver, passenger, and front sides. The Triber will launch in the market in the next quarter.


Shams Naqvi is an anchor/producer for the News X motor show Living Cars


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